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mercredi 28 avril 2010

Who are the MOHANA?

Manchar lake in Pakistan is one of the largest lakes in Asia, and has sustained life for the houseboat community of Mohana people for over 6,000 years. It's also a watery haven for over 1,000 different species of birds. As a result, the Mohana have evolved to live in complete harmony with birds, considering them to be blood brothers. Special skills and traditions are passed down from generation to generation, preserving knowledge taught by their ancestors.

Mohana children learn from a young age how to handle and respect different birds. Bonding starts at birth, with birds sharing the cradle with Mohana babies. These bonds are further developed as children grow up always accompanied by their own birds. In order to be considered suitable for marriage, bird school is a compulsory undertaking for boys, learning more about the birds and how to mimic the different calls.

Unfortunately the Mohana way of life and very survival is constantly under threat, not only from the dwindling fish supplies and rising salt levels in the lake, but also from neighbouring tribes. The nearby community of Zamindars are considered the owners of the lake territory and often come into conflict with the Mohana.

But the Mohana are willing to fight for their community and their ability to continue to live on the lake amongst the birds. For the Mohana the alternative, living on the banks, isn't a suitable option. As leader Razoo explains: "Asking us to leave the lake is like asking fish to live out of water."